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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gulf Pelagic 10.06.11

It's very much still Pelagic season here in the UAE. There had been a storm heading for Oman which we thought might bring us a few more birds, however it changed direction and headed off for Pakistan. Nevertheless we set off at 3pm for a 4 hour Pelagic ranging from the Omani Border up to and beyond Fujeirah. The sea was pretty rough to start with but had settled a little by the time we were half way through. Birds were difficult to find and a lot of time was spent searching the seas. Small groups of Persian Shearwater , Bridled Terns and Common Terns were seen here and there but nothing much out of the ordinary. Eventually about 2 hours we came across a large group of mixed terns in a feeding frenzy when suddenly one of the team calls out "Sooty Tern". Took me a little while to find it but eventually locked on. It flew from one group to the next and was quite distinguishable from the other Terns, wing span being quite noticeable. The tern was identified as 2nd year individual. I believe only the 7th Record for the UAE. Unfortunately my photography was off form today, we have all had those days right ? So not the best shots I'm afraid. Once the excitement was over and the tern had left the area we then continued scouring the seas. Just as it was starting to go dark and we were returning to the Harbour we fortunately (for me) came across two Wilson's Storm Petrel, firsts for me as was the Sooty tern. It was too dark to get any decent shots I'm afraid, but still went home with two new birds for my UAE list.

Feeding Terns, Bridled and Common

Common Tern, Sterna hirundo

 Common Tern, Sterna hirundo

Sooty Tern, Onychoprion fuscatus

 Sooty Tern, Onychoprion fuscatus

 Sooty Tern, Onychoprion fuscatus

 Sooty Tern, Onychoprion fuscatus


Sooty Tern, Onychoprion fuscatus

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mike

    Well done on the Sooty Tern! I believe it is a juvenile, quite a young one at that, rather than a 2nd year bird. Sooties begin post-juv moult quite soon, and this is unique among the Onochyprion Terns in being a complete moult, so the inner primaries and outer rectrices are replaced fast. There's no sign of that having started in your bird. The body moult renders the breast and flanks significantly paler than your bird. By the second cycle, Sooties look relatively adult-like. If you'd like to discuss this further, email me at digdeepatyahoodotcom.

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